Reviewing the Orioles' trades of July 2018 that launched a rebuild; Bowie's Rodriguez dominates - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Reviewing the Orioles’ trades of July 2018 that launched a rebuild; Bowie’s Rodriguez dominates

Three years ago next month, the Orioles began their rebuild with a series of trades. The first and most significant of those deals was sending Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for five players, including right-handed pitcher Dean Kremer.

Kremer’s Thursday night start, in which he allowed six runs, walked five batters, gave up two hits and retired just one batter, earned him a trip back to Triple-A Norfolk. It also caused fans to label that trade a disaster.

When the deals were made in July 2018 by Dan Duquette, Mike Elias’ predecessor as the Orioles’ general manager, fans wanted a quick evaluation. At the time, I replied that you’d have to wait until 2020 or 2021 for a fair evaluation. So, three years later, how do those trades look?

Machado to the Dodgers for Kremer, outfielder Yusniel Diaz, infielders Rylan Bannon and Breylic Velara and right-handed pitcher Zach Pop

Machado was going to be a free agent after the season and, after playing in the World Series with the Dodgers in 2018, he signed a 10-year, $300-million contract with the San Diego Padres.

The Orioles weren’t going to pay Machado anywhere near that amount Although many believe the team could have gotten a better package had they dealt him in the offseason, the Orioles wanted to take another shot at contending in 2018. They fell horribly short.

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Kremer led the minor leagues in strikeouts in 2018 and showed promise late last season when he was 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA in four starts. This year he’s 0-7 with a 7.25 ERA in 12 starts. Last year, he didn’t allow a home run in 18 2/3 innings. This year, he has surrendered 14 in 49 2/3 innings, about 2.5 per nine innings.

The Orioles are desperate for quality starters. Kremer still has promise, and the team is a long way from giving up on him. after 16 starts. Unlike his first two trips to Norfolk, which were brief, this one will be longer, and the team hopes for a better result.

Kremer wasn’t the centerpiece of the deal. Diaz was, but he has yet to play in the major leagues because of injuries. He missed about a month this season because of a hip injury, one that has limited him to 16 games.

If Diaz stays healthy, he should get to Baltimore, perhaps as early as next month. If he becomes a solid major league corner outfielder, the deal looks better.

Bannon, who plays second and third base, is on the injured list because of an oblique injury. Last November, the Orioles added Bannon and Diaz to the 40-man roster. Before his injury, Bannon was hitting.175 with two home runs and nine RBIs.

Pop was taken in the Rule 5 draft by Arizona, who sent him to Miami. In 26 innings, Pop has a 5.88 ERA but has averaged more than a strikeout per inning, and the Marlins are holding on to him.

Valera, who played 12 games for the Orioles in 2018, was dealt by Elias and has been in four organizations since. He’s currently at Triple-A for Toronto.

Zack Britton to the New York Yankees for left-hander Josh Rogers and right-handers Cody Carroll and Dillon Tate

The Orioles didn’t have much use for a premier closer on a rebuilding team, and Britton, who re-signed with the Yankees after the 2018 season, brought back two pitchers, Carroll and Rogers, who quickly pitched for the Orioles.

Rogers, who underwent Tommy John surgery in May 2019, pitched eight games in 2018 and 2019 before his surgery and was released by the Orioles on June 1st. He signed with Washington three days later.

Carroll has a 13.74 ERA in 18 games with the Orioles in 2018 and 2020. He’s at Triple-A Norfolk with a 5.23 ERA.

Tate has intrigued the Orioles but hasn’t delivered consistently. He’s 1-6 with a 4.71 ERA in 51 games in the last three seasons.

Tate has given up just six home runs in 65 innings, and the Orioles still think he can be a significant bullpen piece.

Britton returned to the injured list for the second time this season on Saturday.

Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves for left-handed pitcher Bruce Zimmermann, catcher Brett Cumberland, infielder JC Encarnacion, right-hander Evan Phillips and international signing bonus money

This is an underrated deal. Although Gausman has become a first-rate starter for the San Francisco Giants, he was going to be a free agent after the 2019 season and wasn’t going to re-sign with the Orioles.

At the time of the trade, O’Day was on the injured list because of hamstring surgery. The Orioles wanted to get out of a contract that ran through the 2019 season. As long as the Orioles dealt Gausman, the Braves agreed to take on O’Day’s contract with a $9 million annual salary that ran through 2019.

O’Day was one of the best relievers in Orioles history but had a series of injuries in his final years with the team and is best suited for a contending team. He’s with the Yankees but hasn’t pitched since April 29th because of a right rotator cuff strain. O’Day is expected to return to the Yankees’ bullpen this week.

Zimmermann, who wasn’t considered a high-ceiling prospect, has been a solid addition to the Orioles’ rotation this season, though he’s currently on the 10-day injured list because of left bicep tendinitis.

Cumberland is at Norfolk and should there be a need for another catcher later this season, he could get a call.

Phillips is 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA in 44 games with the Orioles in 2019-2020. Encarnacion was released by the Orioles and is playing for the independent York Revolution in the Atlantic League.

Jonathan Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers for infielder Jonathan Villar, right-hander Luis Ortiz and infielder Jean Carmona

Schoop, a popular second baseman, was close with Machado and seemed to be affected by the deal. He didn’t perform well with Milwaukee, moved on to Minnesota in 2019 and is playing well for Detroit this season. Schoop won’t be 30 until October.

Villar didn’t miss a game in his season-plus with the Orioles and hit 24 home runs and stole 40 bases in 2019. The Orioles didn’t want to pay what could have been a $10 million salary in arbitration, and Villar was dealt to Miami for left-handed pitcher Easton Lucas, who’s at High-A Aberdeen.

Ortiz was 0-2 with a 12.71 ERA in three games for the Orioles in 2018 and 2019 and was released by the Orioles in November 2020. He’s pitching in Triple-A for Texas.

Carmona joined Low-A Delmarva earlier this month.

In addition to those four trades, the Orioles also traded reliever Brad Brach to the Atlanta Braves for international signing bonus money.

The Orioles acquired $2.75 million from the Brach and Gausman/O’Day deals but, by the time those trades were made, most of the top international amateurs were already signed.

The team attempted to sign Victor Victor Mesa, a Cuban defector, but he signed with Miami instead. The 24-year-old outfielder was batting .135 in 11 games with Double-A Pensacola through Friday.

Bowie’s 1-hitter:  Grayson Rodriguez allowed one hit in five innings, striking out eight and walking one as Double-A Bowie beat New Hampshire, 10-0.

Rodriguez (3-0) threw just 61 pitches. Cameron Bishop had four hitless innings, striking out four and walking three.

The win ended a seven-game losing streak for Bowie.

Second baseman Alexis Torres had a two-run homer and drove in three runs. Centerfielder Johnny Rizer also had three RBIs.

Catcher Nick Ciuffo drove in three runs and hit his second home run as Triple-A Norfolk beat Gwinnett, 4-2.

Tyler Joyner, who was just promoted from Bowie, pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings in relief for the win. Claudio Custodio pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up one hit, for the save.

Third baseman Jordan Westburg hit a grand slam to lead High-A Aberdeen over Rome, 5-0.

It was the second home run for Westburg, the 30th overall selection in the June 2020 draft, since joining the IronBirds.

Connor Gillispie (4-3) and Ryan Conroy combined on a four-hitter. Gillispie allowed three hits in five innings, and Conroy one in four.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson is hitless in 10 at-bats since joining Aberdeen on Tuesday.

Low-A Delmarva scored seven runs in the second as the Shorebirds beat Fredericksburg, 14-2.

Leftfielder Hudson Haskin had a three-run home run, catcher Ryne Ogren and centerfielder Mason Janvrin each had two-run homers.

Noah Denoyer (4-2) gave up two runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

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